Mere Point Oyster Company Farm Expansion Fact or Fiction

Have some unanswered questions or lack of clarity regarding our oyster farm expansion plan? We want to help you better understand. Read up on our “Fact or Fiction” section to learn more!

 

FICTION: Oyster farming will pollute the bay and cause it harm.

FACT: Oyster filter water will help reduce turbidity and consume excess nutrients, which are know to overwhelm nearshore waters,  as the coastal areas are faced with increased land development. For every 25 thousand oysters the MPOC crew harvests, we will be removing one coastal homes annual nitrogen production.

Nutrient pollution, a form of water pollution, refers to contamination by excessive inputs of nutrients. It is a primary cause of eutrophication of surface waters, in which excess nutrients, usually nitrogen or phosphorus, stimulate algal growth.

 

FICTION: The oysters being farmed are not native oysters.

FACT: MPOC grows American oysters that have been indigenous to our coastal regions  for centuries.

 

FICTION: The oysters being farmed are genetically modified.

FACT: Our oysters are selectively bred to be disease resistant and more cold weather tolerant.  All of our baby oysters are from in state hatcheries and are screened for any disease or health issue before being placed on the farm.

 

FICTION: Large volumes of oyster feces pollutes the water.

FACT: This is simply not true, there is no scientific evidence that supports these claims.  As a matter of fact, we believe science supports just the opposite and that farming activities will help to positively support the benthic environments.

 

FICTION: Shellfish are not related to the health and vitality of Maquoit Bay.

FACT: Shellfish including oysters are the KEYSTONE species in the near shore ecosystems.  They are CRITICAL to the health and vitality of Maquoit Bay.  They filter Maquoit Bay waters to the tune of 30-50 gallons a day reducing algae, decreasing turbidity, and creating a more stable and diverse marine environment.

 

FICTION: The proposed farm is too big and takes up too much of Maquoit Bay.

FACT: Maquoit Bay, from Little Flying Point to Mere Point is approximately 3,000 acres.  Our 40 acre oyster farming proposal consist of a little over 1% of the bay, of which 12 acres will be multi-use (fishing, boating, hunting, etc.).  The remaining 28 acres would be continuously developed over a ten year period.  While areas are being developed over this time, undeveloped areas will support normal water activities including, lobstering/crabbing, would be compatible.  At a maximum build out, in ten years  the amount of farming gear, cages and bags would occupy 1.5-2 acres of surface space total.  This equates to less that .5% of surface space in the entire 3,000 acre Maquoit Bay.

 

Mere Point Oyster Company Site Plan (Revised November 2018)

 

 

FICTION: Oyster cages overwintered on the ocean bottom will displace a “claimed” existing crab fishery.

FACT:  Oyster gear used on the bottom of the ocean has been scientifically linked to creating habitat for a diverse group of marine species including crabs.

 

FICTION: Mere Point Oyster Company will only benefit the owners.

FACT: Mere Point Oyster Company will benefit many individuals, businesses, the bay ecosystem, and our younger generation of coastal community members, all in a positive way. Mere Point Oyster Company has several individuals working for the Company including, many part time summer laborers, working as: farm crew, contract scientist, contract divers, multimedia professionals, and the list goes on.

 

FICTION: The ocean cycles and the longer term impacts of climate change are not realistic.

FACT: 99% of the worlds scientists have been convinced that climate change will have drastic impacts on our marine environments. The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of the rest of the world’s oceans.  The Maquoit Bay ecosystem alone has suffered severe impacts from these changes.   A bay once full of (KEYSTONE) shellfish species (mussels & clams) has been decimated by overfishing, invasive predators, and coastal acidification. Leaving a barren habitat devoid of vegetation and reduced shellfish populations.  These changes continue to put the bay at risk.  In the early 1990’s a large algae bloom settled out and caused anoxia killing nearly all shellfish species in the inside of the bay. The most recent incidents of green crabs in 2012/13 and the isolated Bunganuc algal bloom in 2017 that killed thousands of bushels of clams.

 

FICTION: Maine’s Coastal Economy is diverse and wild fisheries will continue to provide and create opportunity for generations of younger Mainers wishing to work on the water.

FACT: Ocean warming is threatening Maine fisheries.  Scientist predict lobsters are slowly migrating north easterly. Shrimp, scallop, ground fish and urchin populations are at an all time low.  These declines can be witnessed over our recent history, as fisheries have drastically declined in New England.  Using scientific ocean warming predictions along with historical fisheries migration patterns, coupled with effort and catch predictions puts Maine Coastal water economies at risk in the distant future and with that the opportunity to work on the water.

 

FICTION: Lobster fishing in Maine will continue to provide enough opportunity for younger generations to continue to work the ocean waters.

FACT: We believe the development of diversified uses properly positions our coastal region for increased and continued ocean warming. Lobster fishing consist of 76 percent of maine coastal fisheries value and the average age of a lobstermen is in the mid 60’s.  With limited entry for new lobster licenses, the younger generation is being forced into other careers that take many out of state. Aquaculture provides an opportunity for these younger fishermen to earn a living on the water without having to leave the state to follow a career.

 

FICTION: The proposed farm is a factory.

FACT: The proposed farm is not factory.  It consist of 1.5-2 acres of total surface gear spread out over 28 acres.  The proposed gear will not extend higher than 8 inches above the water line.  There will be 3 10’X20’ floats with a tumbler.  Small Skiffs will be used to service the farm on a daily basis during the growing season.

See Image below.